Lawrence County officials accept $4M in state funds for Jameson

By Mary Grzebieniak


Lawrence County commissioners accepted an extra $4 million in state funds for the Jameson Health System expansion at its north campus on Wilmington Road.

The action brings to $6 million the amount of grant money Jameson has received for the project from the state of Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. Lawrence County is acting as a “pass-through” for the funds, which must be channeled through a public entity.

Neil Chessin, Jameson’s vice president of operations, said when contacted last week that the money will be used toward construction of the $17 million, two-story emergency room/operating room suite complex expected to be finished by early 2013.

The state money is given to projects which are judged to have regional economic impact with significant potential for improving economic growth and creating jobs, according to the Pennsylvania Office of the Budget’s website. Commissioner Dan Vogler said the governor makes the final decision on the grants.

Commissioners also introduced their recently hired director of Mental Health and Developmental Services. Joe Venasco, who has worked for the department since 2006, was hired as director to replace John Klenotic who recently retired.

Venasco is a Laurel High School graduate and resident of Volant. He earned bachelor’s degrees in history and elementary education. Before working for the county mental health department, he worked 12 years for Community Alternatives. He will be paid $55,000 annually.

Commissioners also hired Frank B. Taylor Engineering of New Castle for $207,010 to do bridge inspections. The county’s share will be $40,000 with the rest paid by the state.

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